A number of Sampson County residents traveled to the nation’s capitol for the 2012 North Carolina Business & Economic Development Summit, calling it a unique experience that offered myriad opportunities. This year’s summit was entitled “Taking Care of Business.” Representatives with the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce comprised the individuals attending.
The Sampson delegation was in Washington on Sept. 10 -11 for the summit, a trip many of them take each year as both a networking opportunity and a fact-finding mission. The annual event gives those individuals from the county a chance to hear from the lawmakers in Washington as well as other prominent personalities in the federal government and in major industry. Not only did they listen, the group had a chance to share their concerns with makers and breakers in government while attending.
Sherrill L. Allen, vice president with BB&T, organized the trip and expressed his gratitude to those who attended.
“”I am very thankful to everyone that took time out of their busy schedules and to travel to Washington and make our presence known as engaged and concerned business people, and share our concerns and aspirations of the business community of Clinton and Sampson County with our representatives,” he said.
“We work on the front lines and strive to and make a better life for our community, support free enterprise and Capitalism as they are tenets to which our society was built upon. After all, as Abraham Lincoln quoted, ‘This is a government of the people, for the people and by the people,’ as a definition of democracy.
“We are committed, individually and collectively to speak to our representatives in our efforts to fulfill Lincoln’s vision and effectively represent our business community. It is always a special experience to be in our nations capital, but even more so, when you stand in the center of the Rotunda in the exact spot where many presidents have laid at state, look around and you see and experience the presence which is a direct result of our forefathers vision of democracy, freedom and culture,” added Allen.
Chamber executive director Janna Bass shared that it was a unique opportunity for the members of the Sampson delegation to build networks that will help them as individuals but, more importantly, develop better communication avenues to help promote Sampson and the businesses in the county.
“There really are few times when you have the opportunity to meet with your representatives and hear what they are doing to help our businesses within the county. Nor is it a usual occasion for you to have a chance to express your concerns and ideas with your representatives in such a forum as this summit,” Bass stressed.
“We had a chance to be a voice for all our members as well as taking what we learned to better assist those that were not able to attend. By attending the summit,we were able to make so many connections to those people who are the movers in the business and government world. Not only did we generate new friendships but we now have an improved network of contacts we can utilize to help us better serve our members and the citizens of the county.”
Bass also expressed her gratitude for each of the individuals that took the time to attend the Washington trip.
Chamber member Sherri Smith, of Patriot State Bank, said the summit was a great avenue of learning.
“As a third year attendee, I looked forward to the slate of speakers each year. Two Cabinet members, Speaker of the House and Commandant of the Marine Corps — just to name a few — were part of this year’s session. We also have one-on-one access to our elected officials and speakers during this time which allows us to ask questions, discuss various topics and make sure they know our position on these topics. This truly helps us develop avenues to be better stewards of our time and help each other here at home by attending,” stressed Smith.
Others that traveled from the county gave their input in regards to their trip.
Allie Ray McCullen, with McCullen Real Estate, commented, “The Business and Economic Summit is a great way to discuss the economic needs and explore solutions for our Sampson County economy. It provides a forum to network with our elected representatives as well as other business leaders in our area.”
James “Dickie” Smith, with BB&T, shared that it was good to see a Sampson County business person (Jerol Kivett), represented on the panel. I would also like to express our thanks to Ford of Clinton for providing a vehicle for us to drive.”
“The most beneficial information from the Washington Perspective 2012 for CommWell Health was the extensive talk regarding Medicare and Medicaid,” expressed Bonnie Wise with CommWell Health. “As long as this subject is continuously on the minds of our Congressmen and Women, then we are assured that these issues will be in the forefront during the decision making process,” cited Wise.
Kivett, with Kivett’s Inc,. not only was a member of the Sampson delegation, but he also shared during the North Carolina Executive Leadership Panel discussion. He shared a few thoughts from his experiences during the summit this year.
“It was a good trip. We had the opportunity to share with each other as chamber members which is something we do not get to do enough ordinarily. The trip was very educational as I discovered last year. You learn new things each time you go and felt fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this year also. Serving on the panel allowed me the opportunity to share how our business has been able to grow even in a down economy. The summit was most beneficial as we all had similar concerns as we are dealing with the economic situations in our own ways and then shared with others what we were doing and received ideas from the methods used by the other businesses that were represented. It was always helpful to have an opportunity to meet and speak with our representatives during this meeting,” stated Kivett.
When asked how he came to be on the panel, Kivett responded. “I was not scheduled to be on the panel but it so happened that one of the members had a death in their family and the committee approached me about two or three hours prior to the discussion if I would consider serving on the panel. I do not regret agreeing to serve as I truly enjoyed the experience. The discussion and the questions were very beneficial and educational. All in all the opportunity to serve on the panel and to attend the summit allowed us to enhance our capabilities to better ourselves and our businesses and help our communities as well,” added Kivett.
Bass concluded by stating the trip was very memorable, fun and informative. “I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone for taking time out of their busy schedule to represent the Chamber, their business and Sampson County on the trip. I am certain we all will benefit from the information we were able to gather during the trip,” remarked Bass.